1 1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
The Thessalonians' Faith and Example
2 We give praise to God at all times for you, keeping you in memory in our prayers; 3 Having ever in mind your work of faith and acts of love and the strength of your hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father; 4 Being conscious, my brothers, dear to God, that you have been marked out by God's purpose; 5 Because our good news came to you, not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Spirit, so that you were completely certain of it; even as you saw what our behaviour to you was like from our love to you.
6 And you took us and the Lord as your example, after the word had come to you in much trouble, with joy in the Holy Spirit; 7 So that you became an example to all those who have faith in Christ in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 For not only was the word of the Lord sounding out from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God is made clear; so that we have no need to say anything. 9 For they themselves give the news of how we came among you; and how you were turned from images to God, to the worship of a true and living God, 10 Waiting for his Son from heaven, who came back from the dead, even Jesus, our Saviour from the wrath to come.
Paul's Ministry in Thessalonica
2 1 For you yourselves, brothers, are conscious that our coming among you was not without effect: 2 But after we had first undergone much pain and been cruelly attacked as you saw, at Philippi, by the help of God we gave you the good news without fear, though everything was against us. 3 For our witness does not come from error or from an unclean heart or from deceit: 4 But even as the good news was given to us by the approval of God, so we give it out; not as pleasing men, but God by whom our hearts are tested. 5 For it is common knowledge among you that we never made use of smooth-sounding false words, and God is witness that at no time were we secretly desiring profit for ourselves, 6 Or looking for glory from men, from you or from others, when we might have made ourselves a care to you as Apostles of Christ.
7 But we were gentle among you, like a woman caring for her little ones: 8 Even so, being full of loving desire for you, we took delight in giving you not only God's good news, but even our lives, because you were dear to us. 9 For you have the memory, my brothers, of our trouble and care; how, working night and day, so that we might not be a trouble to any of you, we gave you the good news of God. 10 You are witnesses, with God, how holy and upright and free from all evil was our way of life among you who have faith; 11 Even as you saw how, like a father with his children, we were teaching and comforting you all, and giving witness, 12 So that your lives might be pleasing to God, who has given you a part in his kingdom and his glory.
13 And for this cause we still give praise to God, that, when the word came to your ears through us, you took it, not as the word of man, but, as it truly is, the word of God, which has living power in you who have faith. 14 For you, my brothers, took as your examples the churches of God which are in Judaea in Christ Jesus; because you underwent the same things from your countrymen as they did from the Jews; 15 Who put to death the Lord Jesus and the prophets, violently driving us out; who are unpleasing to God and against all men; 16 Who, to make the measure of their sins complete, kept us from giving the word of salvation to the Gentiles: but the wrath of God is about to come on them in the fullest degree.
Paul's Absence and Concern
17 But we, my brothers, being away from you for a short time, in body but not in heart, had all the more desire to see your face; 18 For which reason we made attempts to come to you, even I, Paul, once and again; but Satan kept us from coming. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of glory? Are not even you, before our Lord Jesus, at his coming? 20 For you are our glory and our joy.
3 1 At last our desire to have news of you was so strong that, while we ourselves were waiting at Athens, 2 We sent Timothy, our brother and God's servant in the good news of Christ, to give you strength and comfort in your faith; 3 So that no man might be moved by these troubles; because you see that these things are part of God's purpose for us. 4 And when we were with you, we said to you that trouble was before us; and so it came about, as you see. 5 For this reason, when I was no longer able to keep quiet, I sent to get news of your faith, fearing that you might be tested by the Evil One and that our work might come to nothing.
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has given us good news of your faith and love, and that you have happy memories of us, desiring greatly to see us, even as we do to see you; 7 For this cause, brothers, in all our trouble and grief we were comforted about you because of your faith; 8 For it is life to us if you keep your faith in the Lord unchanged. 9 For how great is the praise which we give to God for you, and how great the joy with which we are glad because of you before our God; 10 Night and day requesting God again and again that we may see your face and make your faith complete.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus make a way for us to come to you; 12 And the Lord give you increase of love in fullest measure to one another and to all men, even as our love to you; 13 So that your hearts may be strong and free from all sin before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
A Life Pleasing to God
4 1 And last of all, the prayer which we make to you from our heart and in the name of the Lord Jesus, is this: that as we made clear to you what sort of behaviour is pleasing to God, as in fact you are doing now, so you will go on in these ways, but more and more. 2 Because you have in mind the orders we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For the purpose of God for you is this: that you may be holy, and may keep yourselves from the desires of the flesh; 4 So that every one of you may keep his body holy and in honour; 5 Not in the passion of evil desires, like the Gentiles, who have no knowledge of God; 6 And that no man may make attempts to get the better of his brother in business: for the Lord is the judge in all these things, as we said to you before and gave witness. 7 Because it is God's purpose that our way of life may be not unclean but holy. 8 Whoever, then, goes against this word, goes against not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But about loving the brothers, there is no need for me to say anything to you in this letter: for you have the teaching of God that love for one another is right and necessary; 10 And, truly, you are lovers of all the brothers in Macedonia; but it is our desire that your love may be increased still more; 11 And that you may take pride in being quiet and doing your business, working with your hands as we gave you orders; 12 That you may be respected by those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
The Coming of the Lord
13 But it is our desire, brothers, that you may be certain about those who are sleeping; so that you may have no need for sorrow, as others have who are without hope. 14 For if we have faith that Jesus underwent death and came back again, even so those who are sleeping will come again with him by God's power. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are still living at the coming of the Lord, will not go before those who are sleeping. 16 Because the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a word of authority, with the voice of the chief angel, with the sound of a horn: and the dead in Christ will come to life first; 17 Then we who are still living will be taken up together with them into the clouds to see the Lord in the air: and so will we be for ever with the Lord. 18 So then, give comfort to one another with these words.
5 1 But about the times and their order, my brothers, there is no need for me to say anything to you. 2 For you yourselves have the knowledge that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 When they say, There is peace and no danger, then sudden destruction will come on them, as birth-pains on a woman with child; and they will not be able to get away from it. 4 But you, my brothers, are not in the dark, for that day to overtake you like a thief: 5 For you are all sons of light and of the day: we are not of the night or of the dark.
6 So then, let us not take our rest as the others do, but let us be self-controlled and awake. 7 For those who are sleeping do so in the night; and those who are the worse for drink are so in the night; 8 But let us, who are of the day, be serious, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and on our heads, the hope of salvation. 9 For God's purpose for us is not wrath, but salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who was put to death for us, so that, awake or sleeping, we may have a part in his life.
11 So then, go on comforting and building up one another, as you have been doing.
Paul Exhorts the Brethren
12 But we make this request to you, my brothers: give attention to those who are working among you, who are over you in the Lord to keep order among you; 13 And have a high opinion of them in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And our desire is that you will keep control over those whose lives are not well ordered, giving comfort to the feeble-hearted, supporting those with little strength, and putting up with much from all. 15 Let no one give evil for evil; but ever go after what is good, for one another and for all.
16 Have joy at all times. 17 Keep on with your prayers. 18 In everything give praise: for this is the purpose of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not put out the light of the Spirit; 20 Do not make little of the words of the prophets; 21 Let all things be tested; keep to what is good; 22 Keep from every form of evil.
23 And may the God of peace himself make you holy in every way; and may your spirit and soul and body be free from all sin at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 God, by whom you have been marked out in his purpose, is unchanging and will make it complete.
Final Greetings and Benediction
25 Brothers, keep us in mind in your prayers. 26 Give all the brothers a holy kiss. 27 I give orders in the name of the Lord that all the brothers are to be present at the reading of this letter. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Judgment at Christ's Coming
3 It is right for us to give praise to God at all times for you, brothers, because of the great increase of your faith, and the wealth of your love for one another; 4 So that we ourselves take pride in you in the churches of God for your untroubled mind and your faith in all the troubles and sorrows which you are going through;
5 Which is a clear sign of the decision which God in his righteousness has made; to give you a part in his kingdom, for which you have undergone this pain; 6 For it is an act of righteousness on God's part to give trouble as their reward to those who are troubling you, 7 And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven with the angels of his power in flames of fire, 8 To give punishment to those who have no knowledge of God, and to those who do not give ear to the good news of our Lord Jesus: 9 Whose reward will be eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, 10 At his coming, when he will have glory in his saints, and will be a cause of wonder in all those who had faith (because our witness among you had effect) in that day.
11 For this reason, you are ever in our prayers, that you may seem to our God such as may have a part in his purpose and that by his power he will make all his good purpose, and the work of faith, complete; 12 So that glory may be given to the name of our Lord Jesus through you, and you may have glory in him, by the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Revealing of the Man of Sin
2 1 Now as to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our meeting with him, it is our desire, my brothers, 2 That you may not be moved in mind or troubled by a spirit, or by a word, or by a letter as from us, with the suggestion that the day of the Lord is even now come;
3 Give no belief to false words: because there will first be a falling away from the faith, and the revelation of the man of sin, the son of destruction, 4 Who puts himself against all authority, lifting himself up over all which is named God or is given worship; so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God, putting himself forward as God. 5 Have you no memory of what I said when I was with you, giving you word of these things? 6 And now it is clear to you what is keeping back his revelation till the time comes for him to be seen. 7 For the secret of evil is even now at work: but there is one who is keeping back the evil till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then will come the revelation of that evil one, whom the Lord Jesus will put to death with the breath of his mouth, and give to destruction by the revelation of his coming; 9 Even the one whose coming is marked by the working of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 And with every deceit of wrongdoing among those whose fate is destruction; because they were quite without that love of the true faith by which they might have salvation. 11 And for this cause, God will give them up to the power of deceit and they will put their faith in what is false: 12 So that they all may be judged, who had no faith in what is true, but took pleasure in evil.
Chosen to Salvation
13 But it is right for us to give praise to God at all times for you, brothers, loved by the Lord, because it was the purpose of God from the first that you might have salvation, being made holy by the Spirit and by faith in what is true: 14 And in this purpose he gave you a part through the good news of which we were the preachers, even that you might have part in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, be strong in purpose, and keep the teaching which has been given to you by word or by letter from us.
16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who had love for us and has given us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 Give you comfort and strength in every good work and word.
Pray for Us
3 1 For the rest, my brothers, let there be prayer for us that the word of the Lord may go forward with increasing glory, even as it does with you; 2 And that we may be made free from foolish and evil men; for not all have faith. 3 But the Lord is true, who will give you strength and keep you safe from evil. 4 And we have faith in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things about which we give you orders. 5 And may your hearts be guided by the Lord into the love of God and quiet waiting for Christ.
The Obligation to Work
6 Now we give you orders, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from all those whose behaviour is not well ordered and in harmony with the teaching which they had from us. 7 For you yourselves are used to taking us as your example, because our life among you was ruled by order, 8 And we did not take food from any man for nothing, but were working hard night and day not to be a trouble to any of you: 9 Not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves an example to you, so that you might do the same. 10 For even when we were with you we gave you orders, saying, If any man does no work, let him not have food. 11 For it has come to our ears that there are some among you whose behaviour is uncontrolled, who do no work at all, but are over-interested in the business of others. 12 Now to such we give orders and make request in the Lord Jesus, that, working quietly, they get their living. 13 And you, my brothers, do not get tired of well-doing. 14 And if any man does not give attention to what we have said in this letter, take note of that man, and keep away from him, so that he may be shamed. 15 Have no feeling of hate for him, but take him in hand seriously as a brother.
16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. May the Lord be with you all. 17 These words of love to you at the end are in my writing, Paul's writing, and this is the mark of every letter from me. 18 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.